Internet users trying to buy local radio station |

Internet users trying to buy local radio station

Susan Wood, Tribune staff writer

Now listen up — KTHO of South Lake Tahoe has joined the ranks of goods up for sale on eBay.

Owner Tom Gillinwater of Paradise Broadcasting placed the AM 590 station on the Internet auction block at a beginning bid of $450,000 — the amount he bought it for about seven years ago.

In a little less than a week, Gillinwater said he’s fielded more than 400 hits to the Web site — many from the East Coast.

“That surprised me,” he said.

It’s listed under the commercial real estate category as a radio station.

The station plays “adult standards,” which include oldie favorites featuring singers such as Tony Bennett and Barry Manilow.

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Although he owns a second home in Gardnerville, the Huntington Beach man said the distance traveled from Southern California has prompted the sale of the station, which has gone on and off the air through format changes and operator disputes during the last few years.

“It’s hard to run it. We live 500 miles away. And I just don’t have time for it,” Gillinwater said Friday. The challenge is accentuated by frequent trips to his other broadcasting office in Phoenix.

Still, Gillinwater calls the investment “a great property and great signal” — despite its turbulent past.

Two years ago Gillinwater was engaged in a legal dispute with former station manager Chris Kidd over the business deal in which Kidd shared the financial responsibility and operation of the station. The matter has been settled, but only after the station stayed off the air for a year.

In the last year and a half, the station operation moved from the Bijou Center to the Swiss Chalet Village. It employs three people.

-Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at